I must confess I have a problem.
A purse problem. I simply like them too much. Which explains how I've managed to accumulate a purse/tote/wallet/bag collection in excess of thirty items.
See a problem? I do.
I don't use all of these purses. Some of them I've barely looked at in years. And heaven knows I certainly don't need all of these purses. What I need is a good purge of the purses.
So today I vowed to rid myself of my purse problem and set out on a mission to prune my collection down to half. What I didn't expect was to have my past made whole in the process.
While clearing out the the pockets of my purses I discovered treasures that led me right down the center of memory lane. The first few purses brought back memories that were recent and still quite fresh in my mind. I found a gift list from this past Christmas and a few grocery lists. "Spinach...apples...zucchini..." Oh so many things change over time, I thought to myself, but this list has stayed the same.
The deeper I reached into the chest containing my collection the further back my memory traveled. In a blue paisley wallet I found an old driver's license from back in 2013. The smiling face on the picture wore her hair long and her address read Chagrin Falls, Ohio. In an instant I was four years in the past, sitting on a screened-in porch on May Court. The library card from the Chagrin Valley Library and dog license took me back to the walks Pippy and I used to take down Main street and up the riverside path.
Another purse took me to Florida in 2015 on a hot September Sunday morning. The church bulletin tucked in my floral-print purse pocket transported me straight downtown to Fifth Avenue Naples.
A moment later I was further up the Gulf Coast in Sarasota. A shopper's club card reminded me of life at Lakewood Ranch. Immediately a scene of an exploding sink followed by fits of laughter shared between my Mother and I brought a smile to my face.
It was a glorious walk down memory lane. And it wasn't even over yet.
At the bottom of my chest the purses took me all the way back to 2012 and placed me at the very beginning of my health journey. Seattle, Washington. The last purse was a Fossil treasure I purchased at the Macy's in downtown Seattle. I remember wandering the isles of the department store and coming across the delightful penguin pattern. The purse's whimsy and fun beckoned me to buy it.
As memories of years spent searching for health answers came flooding over me I held the first purse of my journey and let the past come washing over me.
With great anticipation I cracked open my penguin purse, excited to see what token of the past I would find within its zipped up pockets. And there it was.
Inside my first purse of the journey, the purse purchased on the trip to see a "specialist" and be made well, I found nothing, the same nothing I had discovered on the trip.
Opening that empty purse was all at once disappointing and freeing. Nothing. That's what this illness and sickness are to God. They are nothing to Him because He can take it away in an instant. Lyme is nothing to God because He can eradicate it with a thought. My struggles are nothing to God because He can conquer them without lifting a finger. This saga is nothing to God. What is something to God is me, the person I am inside, and the person I am becoming through the saga, through the struggle and through these seven years of sickness.
I've held onto thirty some purses for seven years and let them take this journey with me but I'm ready to purge them. I'm ready to purge myself of the need to purchase my healing by finding the right doctor, the right remedy and the right trip. I am ready to cut out all of my searching so I can be restored to complete, true, lasting, eternal, total health.
Everything I still need to be made whole is in that first purse. Nothing. Because I have everything. I have everything I need to be made well. I am well. It is well with my soul and, glory be to God, it is well in my body.
But I'm keeping the penguin purse.